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Rendering parts and assemblies


The view and faces styles allow you to apply photorealistic rendering effects to parts and assemblies. These rendering effects are used to improve the presentation qualities of a part or assembly. Using view styles affects the entire view, while using faces styles affects individual parts.
You can use these styles to add new effects such as:
  • Anti-aliasing
  • Textures
  • Floor mirror
  • Bump Maps
  • Background images and reflections
  • Shadows
  • Light color and angle
Applying anti-aliasing to a part or assembly window reduces or removes the jagged display of angular edges. You can control the level of anti-aliasing. The more anti-aliasing you apply, the smoother the display will be, but it will also take longer to process.

You can use an image to apply a texture to a part in an assembly. For example, you can apply texture images that represent material types such as wood, brushed aluminum, or marble.


If you are applying a .jpg texture image, it must be in RGB format. RGB is the only supported format for .jpg textures.

Floor mirror
You can apply a mirror effect on the floor underneath a part or an assembly. This provides a realistic reflection of the model.

Bump maps
You can also use an image to define a bump map on a part in an assembly. Bump maps add realism by creating the appearance of surface relief shading on a part.

Background images and reflections
You can use background images to make parts and assemblies look more realistic. For example, you might apply a background image of a road scene or construction site behind a backhoe assembly. You can also define an image which is reflected off surfaces. The same image can be used for both the background and reflection or separate images can be used.

In assemblies, you can define Face styles that define whether a part will cast a shadow onto another part and whether a part will accept shadows from adjacent parts.

Light color and angle
The light source properties available in earlier releases of Solid Edge now allow you to assign color and angle properties to each of the eight individual light sources.

Rendering performance
The more rendering options you apply to a part or assembly, the greater the affect on display speed. Using the Format View dialog box, you can toggle these effects off and on. While you are designing parts, you may want to temporarily disable the rendering options to make your screen update faster. Setting the Render Mode to something other than Smooth Shaded or toggling off the rendering effects will make your parts display faster. You can switch back to the enhanced view at any time.

Rendering ray traced images
You can create ray traced images of your assemblies in Solid Edge. This process takes more time, but creates higher quality images. The main difference between normal shading and ray traced shading is that ray traced gives part-to-part reflections. These are reflections of the parts in the assembly reflecting onto themselves or one another. This type of reflection is not found in any other rendering process. This is why ray traced images take much longer to process. The amount of computation required to generate these reflections is tremendous.

Preparing the assembly
You should check to make sure all attributes and styles for the individual pats are properly set before you ray trace an assembly. You should test the view orientation, reflection boxes, and shadow settings in a simple view style to make sure the shadows and background display properly.
Once you have checked the assembly file for appropriate styles and settings, you can create a ray traced image of the file. If you are unsure about the results, you can run a small test area in ray trace mode to optimize hardware time.

Accessing the Ray Trace option
You can only ray trace an image in the Explode-Render-Animate application in the Assembly environment.
All of the display configurations that are available in the Assembly environment are available in the Explode-Render-Animate application. This allows you to create multiple images that closely imitate these configurations with very little work.

The rendering process
Because rendering is such a broad and extensive process, there is no set of rules. However there are several general techniques that you can apply to most rendering jobs. There will be exceptions, especially for highly reflective or high transparent renderings.
Once you finish an assembly, you are ready to render an image. The following steps describe how to render an image. These steps are not linear and you may have to revisit a step several times during the process.
  • Orient the assembly to the desired view.
  • Decide whether to generate the image in Isometric (default) or a Perspective view (more realistic).
  • Test the lighting of the assembly. Try to minimize the number of lights you have turned on. Three seems to be enough lights for most rendering projects. Turning on more lights does not guarantee anything other than a longer processing time.
  • Test the "fall" of the shadows and adjust the lights accordingly.
  • Select and apply unique part colors. Set attributes of part colors for transparency, reflectivity, and shininess.
  • Select and apply textures and bump patterns. Adjust lights to avoid washing out colors or textures.
  • If the product has reflective surfaces, you should set up a reflection box so the parts have something to reflect.
  • Run a couple of sample areas to test lighting, shadows, bump maps and textures.
  • Render the complete scene and adjust attributes as needed.
  • Once the attributes are set properly, turn on Anti-aliasing and render the complete view.
Rendering tips
The rendering process takes time and patience. Small adjustments can make a large impact on the quality of an image. There are several tips that can help you improve the quality of your image.
  • Leave Textures, Shadows, Depth Fading and Reflectance off until all parts have a color and textures assigned.
  • Keep Anti-aliasing turned off until you are ready to generate the final image.
  • Test the attributes of the colors and textures with the lighting with Shadows, Depth Fading Textures, and Reflectance off.
  • Test the Lights and Shadows together. Textures and Reflectance should be off.
  • Test the highlight and reflectance areas of the image with Render Area before rendering the complete view. Adjust the attributes accordingly.
  • Turn Anti-aliasing, Textures, Reflectance, Depth Fading, and Shadows on before rendering the complete scene.
  • If a part has some level of reflectivity, there must be something to reflect onto the part for the reflectivity to be seen. Use the Environment box or change the angle of the view so adjacent parts get reflected on these types of parts.
  • Use "Chrome" for the Reflection Box value for most reflection needs.
  • Try not to float the assembly in space. Create an environment similar to the one in which the actual assembly exists. This gives scale and purpose to the assembly.
  • Do not over use transparent parts. Try hiding the part in one image and showing the part in another to get the same effect.
  • Turn off shadows for transparent parts. It will not be noticed that the shadow is missing in most cases, and the image will be easier to understand.
  • Always map the same file for the texture file and the bump file and use the same scale factors.
  • Surface textures place one texture per surface. World textures wrap one texture over the complete part.
After creating several images you can adapt your own tips and processes to making product renderings. Every project is different and one tip may work for one project but not the other.

Creating and saving rendered images
You can use the Render Setup command to define the properties you want for a rendered image of an assembly. The Ray Traced rendering mode on the Render Setup dialog box allows you to display a ray traced image in the assembly window. You can preview the ray traced image using the Render Scene and Render Area commands. You can then use the Save As Image command to save the image to a file.


You must set the Presentation View Style option on the Save As Image Options dialog box to save a ray traced image.

Image File Handling
In order to maintain minimum file sizes in Solid Edge models, textures, background images, and reflection images are not embedded within the model file. These files should be managed by the user separately to ensure that the model looks the same on computers other that the author's computer.
Any additional image files that are created or added should be stored in a well-known location such that when the model file is transported, those files can be collected easily and resolved by the display system on the destination computer. The image files must be placed in the same relative location on the destination computer in order to display correctly. It is a good practice to make sure that all new images files are located in the same folder as the model file. Solid Edge will also search sub-folders of the model file location if it cannot find an image file.
In order to minimize load times and reduce image file load failures it is best that folders on remote computers not be referenced. If your organization has a common library of images, it is recommended that the library be copied to and updated on each user's computer. This will allow you to make local references to the image files and avoid network paths which may become unavailable. Make sure that image files are as small as possible and saved at a quality or compression setting that will give satisfactory load times. This becomes a concern with larger model files or when there are many images displayed.
Make sure that image files are as small as possible and saved at a quality or compression setting that will give satisfactory load times. This becomes a concern with larger model files or when there are many images displayed.

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